As my patience has steadily increased over the years, there are very few things that get my dander up.
But lately, I have been noticing more and more how many people totally ignore the blue zone mobility impaired parking spots as they run in for their morning coffee and muffin at our local coffee shop — and this really boils me.
Now these people will attempt to defend their actions by saying, “Well, I only ran in for a few minutes and won't be long.” This is utterly ridiculous and unacceptable in my view. I am sure you will agree with me on this issue — what is wrong with people? One cannot park in blue zones unless you have a legitimate permit.
Services NL—Motor Registration Division is the specific government department responsible for the issuance of what is commonly referred to as the ‘Mobility Impaired Parking Permit Program.’ For an individual to obtain a parking permit they are required to complete a Mobility Impaired Parking Permit Application (which can be down-loaded on line at www.gov.nl.ca/servicenl ). The application must be accompanied by your physician’s report. This is obviously to verify and ensure that those people who are applying are actually eligible to receive and carry a parking permit.
For the most part the application process is rather user friendly (and easy to navigate through) but hard copies can be picked up and are available from any Motor Registration office across the province. People who apply are not required to hold a driver's licence or their own vehicle. From what I gather; what this means is that people can still apply and have someone else drive them — the permit holder is the passenger. There is no fee associated with the permit and it can be valid for a period of six months to five years. Permit holders can receive one permit per person, which is not transferable to another person. Also, permit holders are required to clearly display their permits in the windshield of their vehicles so enforcement officers can see the permit number.
The whole purpose of these permits by our government is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same equal opportunities as well as other citizens and the general public. Not only are there rules and regulations that govern who should use these designated spaces, but similarly there are policies for business owners that they must comply with. Effective Sept. 30, 2012, all buildings which were deemed publically accessible under the Building Accessibility Regulations must have had permanent signage installed which should be clearly painted blue and also depict the international symbol for accessibility. Failure to comply will result in fines ranging from $200 to $ 25,000. In addition to people who illegally park in blue zones, I would encourage and plead with business owners to ensure their mobility impaired parking spots are clearly visible and able to be utilized for the sole purpose they are intended.
So people lets all try to do our part and respect and adhere to the rules and policies as outlined by government for mobility impaired permit holders. We also should — as society — respect those with mobility challenges and those people who legitimately carry valid permits and not take up those blue zone spaces. These spaces are designed for a specific purpose in mind. It does not matter whether you will only be a few minutes or not — the practice of misusing mobility impaired parking spaces is not acceptable and people who do so should be reported to the appropriate authorities. They are not for you. No parking means no parking.
Stan Oliver writes from Happy Valley-Goose Bay and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org